As soon as a patient named Shah Alam Bepari was taken in front of the Covid unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital in an ambulance, a group of 4-5 people rushed to him.
One of them was holding a placard inscribed with "I am a volunteer. How can I help you?"
After talking to the patient's daughter named Shahnaz, who was there with her ailing father, they started assisting the patient.
The group of volunteers who were wearing orange jackets got the patient out of the ambulance, put him on a stretcher and took him to the ICU. They carried the necessary items that the patient had with him to his bed.
This is not an imaginary story at this time of the coronavirus. At this crisis moment when the nearest ones often deserts Covid patients and avoid standing beside them out of fear of getting infected, a team of 15 people are assisting both Covid and non-Covid patients staying in front of the Covid unit of the DMCH from morning till evening every day.
What is even more surprising is that the volunteers working with the organisation are transgender people. The volunteers working with the voluntary organisation "Brihannala" have been providing this service since 15 April this year.
Expressing her gratitude to the volunteers, Shahnaz, told The Business Standard, "The way they came forward to help us in this crisis moment is really amazing. At a time when people do not want to come to see patients in the hospital, their activities are really praiseworthy."
Brihannala has been carrying out its activities with five people in the central committee 10 transgender volunteers.
Even though most patients and their families accept the volunteers cordially, a few others avoid them. However, the volunteers are not at all disappointed or aggrieved at this.
Volunteer Chandni Akter told TBS, "I feel bad when we go to beg for money, but I feel lucky to be able to keep myself involved in this great work. I never feel afraid while helping Covid-19 patients. We wear facemasks, head shades and hand gloves for our safety. Also, we sanitise our hands after regular intervals."
Rozana Akhter, who came to donate various protective equipment to Brihannala, said, "I have given them face shades, sanitisers and masks to get myself involved in this noble work. I don't want any publicity of my donation. I feel happy that I could cooperate with them a little in such a great job."
Sadiqul Islam, a master's student at the Institute of Education and Research at Dhaka University, is the president of the organisation and the team leader. He told TBS, "We've been working since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak last year. We distributed masks in different places, and conducted awareness campaigns regarding the use of hand sanitisers and hand washing.
"Our activities were closed for a few months as coronavirus cases decreased in the country. However, due to the recent surge in corona cases, we've launched this initiative."
"Although everyone has applauded their work, hospital staff and brokers are not taking it in a positive way," Sadiqul said, adding that it is natural that there will be some obstacles to good work. "Since we are working with such a big risk, we don't see these issues as any big impediment."
Asif Ahmed, general secretary of the organisation, said no fear works in their mind when they assist Covid patients. "When an ambulance arrives here, everyone gets busy to protect them thinking that the patient might be of coronavirus-affected and move to a safe distance. The members of Brihannala are serving humanity without thinking of any risk."
Munmun Akter, a transgender volunteer, told TBS, "We've chosen the job to stand by the people so that others are also inspired. We have been able to boost the morale of the patients, at least to some extent, by standing by the side of the sick people.
The members of Brihannala do not only assist Covid patients in the hospital, but they have also arranged a three-wheeler auto-rickshaw to serve the helpless people.
They are transporting at least 15 patients to different places every day. Whenever informed, the organisation is ensuring the travel of patients and their relatives in this vehicle.
The organisation has already transported patients and their relatives to different places including Shanir Akhra, Azimpur, Khilgaon, Chittagong Road, Postagola, Jhigatala, and Mirpur in the capital at free of cost.